Soccer returns to its familiar place in USA

Goodbye, soccer. See you in four years.

That’s the way that I and many other sports fans feel now that the United States has been eliminated from the World Cup. The USA lost to Ghana 2-1 in extra time Saturday.

Sure, I’ll probably keep an eye on the rest of the games, but I won’t watch as intensely as I would have if the U.S. was still going.

This is the challenge that soccer faces in this country. For Americans to care, the U.S. must be great.

But the biggest challenge in my opinion is that Americans are used to seeing the best athletes all of the time. Major League Baseball. National Football League. The NBA. The NHL. The best athletes money can buy play in those leagues.

Major League Soccer is a solid product. To be honest with you, I never thought it would have lasted this long, but it has. But those players aren’t the best the world produces. They’re good players. But the MLS isn’t the English Premier League. Real Salt Lake shouldn’t be confused with Real Madrid.

And that’s not something that’s going to change. It’s a chicken-and-egg scenario, and Europeans just care more about soccer and spend a lot more on it than we do. So unless Mark Cuban decides to go hog-wild and invest his own money to buy the best and hope he breaks even, it’s just not going to happen.

I really do enjoy watching the World Cup. But for me, it’s like the Olympics. You get jacked up every four years, and that’s how it will remain.

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